At CES 2021, Intel unveiled the next-generation 11th-generation’Rocket Lake S’desktop core chip. According to Intel, the flagship model Core i9-11900K processor boasts a 19% improvement over the previous generation and gaming performance comparable to AMD’s most powerful Ryzen chips.
There is also a side that has retreated daily. The 10th generation Core i9-10900K has 10 cores and 20 threads, while the latest i9-11900K has 8 cores and 16 threads. The turbo clock speed is also slower than the i9-10900K at up to 5.3GHz (single core) and 4.8GHz (all cores). It is also still a 14nm chip.
There are also small but significant improvements. A wider 8-lane DMI interface between the processor and chipset, and CPU PCIe 4.0 lanes increased to 20 for GPUs and SSDs, which is comparable to the PCIe 4.0 features of the last 2nd generation AMD Ryzen. Overall, Intel promises up to 19% IPC (Instruction per Clock) improvement and 50% increase in integrated graphics performance thanks to the new integrated Xe GPU core.
Intel said the Core i9-11900K will be released before March. A new 500-series motherboard chipset will be released, but it is also compatible with existing 400-series motherboards. Prices are undecided.
Gregory Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, also surprised the next-generation Alder Lake hybrid chip. Elder Lake will combine a high-performance’Golden Cove’ core with a Gracemont Atom core in a hybrid design. It is Intel’s first processor based on the 10nm SuperFin process.
Rocket Lake, still 14nm
After Intel acknowledged the existence of a new CPU architecture called Rocket Lake and codenamed Cypress Cove in October, many features of the Rocket Lake S were known. What was not revealed was whether the new chip would accommodate Intel’s latest 10nm process or whether it would be manufactured on a relatively old 14nm process. Now it turns out to be a 14nm chip, and, as Brandt Gutridge, senior director of Intel’s desktop product group, admitted, this explains why the number of cores has been reduced. Gutriji said the Cypress Cove CPU core, originally designed for 10nm, backported to 14nm technology.
“One of the questions that many people will be curious about right now is the reason to cut from 10 cores to 8 cores. The answer to that question is because Intel focuses on maximizing real-world performance, a combination of frequency and IPC. Looking at the microarchitecture, we reported the 10nm design for both CPU and graphics to the 14nm process node. “The 10nm design has a smaller transistor, and the 14nm set is a bit larger, so the maximum number of cores that can fit in a Rocket Lake was eight.”
Another factor that influenced Intel’s choice was that by moving to 14nm, it could take advantage of the SuperFIN transistors Intel added to Tiger Lake. Ruth Brain, an Intel Fellow, expert in technology development and interconnection, said the sum of all Intranode improvements made in the 14nm generation can be compared to the in-node performance improvements from Ice Lake to Tiger Lake through SuperFIN.
“Instead, what we get is a 19% increase in IPC and a 50% improvement in graphics performance. Again, the focus here is on maximizing performance for real end users.”
Intel hasn’t stated whether the Rocket Lake S will officially include DMI 4.0, but Gutridge has confirmed that the number of lanes available for the interface has doubled from four to eight. Direct Media Interface (DMI) connects the chipset’s CPU and North Bridge to the PCH or South Bridge. For the first time, the Intel Sky Lake processor with DMI 3.0 included a total of four lanes. Gutrige confirmed that Rocket Lake S doubled its bandwidth by providing eight lanes, meaning Intel kept the link speed constant.
In terms of gaming performance, Intel claims that Rocket Lake S will improve performance by about 7% on the built-in benchmark of the upcoming IO Interactive Hitman 3 game. Intel also announced that the Core i9-11900K will be able to launch the AMD Ryzen 5900X in several high-end games running at 1080p and higher graphics settings, from’Total War: Three Kingdoms’ to’Cyberpunk 2077′ and’Watch Dogs: Region to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’. Claimed to be a little ahead. However, it did not disclose the configuration used to test the game.
Gutridge further explained Intel’s decision to feature choices for the Rocket Lake S previously disclosed. Customers demanded faster memory, and Intel moved from DDR4-2933 in Comet Lake to DDR4-3200 memory used in Rocket Lake S. If you switch from 16 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 to 20 lanes of PCI Express 4.0, you can fully accommodate both 4 lanes of PCIe SSDs and 16 lanes used in modern GPUs.
Rocket Lake S also includes hardware decoding support for AV1 (and video stored in AVIF file format), compressing data 50% more efficiently than the x254 default profile, reducing user bandwidth requirements. USB 3.2 Gen2x2 increases the usable USB bandwidth overall from 10Gbps to 20Gbps.
Rocket Lake S also includes an always-on Intel Quick Sync Video, which now works simultaneously with the integrated GPU. Previously, only one desktop GPU (integrated GPU or discrete GPU) could be used at a time. Now that both are active, for example, a separate GPU can be used entirely for game rendering, while an integrated GPU can encode the output for video streaming.
What I didn’t see: chipset details, overclocking
Among the information that is still unknown is overclocking. Gutridge promised that Intel plans to’go beyond the limits of providing custom tweaks and optimizations to end users’, so it will share more overclocking features as the launch approaches.
There are also no official and specific details about the new 500-series motherboard chipsets to be released with the Rocket Lake S, but at least in theory they could be used with older 400-series chipsets. Gutriji recommends that users check with the motherboard vendor to make sure that the’PCI Express 4.0 support’ motherboard has the feature enabled and has the proper BIOS installed. Gutridge said changes to the DMI interface will not affect the backwards compatibility of the Rocket Lake S chip.
But motherboard makers are starting to leak information. At least three chipsets such as Z590, H570, B560, and H510 will be released. Asus said the ROG Maximus XIII Z590 motherboard will contain two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
One of the processors Intel hasn’t compared is Apple’s M1, an ARM chip that will replace the Core i7 and Core i9 in MacBooks and other devices. “You know, Apple has done a great job with its own processor,” Intellian Schraut summed up Intel’s position. But, Schlaut said, “There is room for Intel to compete. In fact, our test results show that the 11th Gen Tiger Lake products have many areas to lead in productivity, content creation, especially games.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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